No toilets costs India $54 billion annually - World Bank

NEW DELHI Mon Dec 20, 2010 7:16pm IST

A boy takes bath outside newly built toilets in a village on the outskirts of Nagapattinam, about 325km (202 miles) from Chennai December 24, 2005. REUTERS/Jagadeesh NV/Files

A boy takes bath outside newly built toilets in a village on the outskirts of Nagapattinam, about 325km (202 miles) from Chennai December 24, 2005.

Credit: Reuters/Jagadeesh NV/Files

Related Topics

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - A lack of toilets and poor hygiene practices in India cost Asia's third largest economy almost $54 billion every year, the World Bank said on Monday.

Premature deaths, treatment for the sick, wasted time and productivity, as well as lost tourism revenues, are the main reasons for the high economic losses, the bank said in a report.

"For decades, we have been aware of the significant impacts of inadequate sanitation in India," Christopher Juan Costain, the World Bank's head for South Asia's water and sanitation programme, told a news conference.

"The report quantifies the economic losses to India, and shows that children and poor households bear the brunt of poor sanitation."

The study "Economic impacts of inadequate sanitation in India" is based on figures taken from 2006, but experts say these remain similar now. It said the largest economic loss was as a result of poor public health.

World Bank experts say there are 450,000 deaths out of 575 million cases of diarrhoea in every year in India, where millions of people in both rural and urban areas still have to defecate in the open, do not wash their hands and cope with poor drainage systems.

The premature deaths, treatment of the sick for illnesses like diarrhoea, malaria, trachoma and intestinal worms, as well as the time lost due to illness is costing $38.5 billion alone.

A further $10.7 million is lost in "access time", the report said -- time spent looking to access a shared toilet or open defecation site compared to having a toilet in one's own home.

Inadequate toilets in schools and work places also incurred losses as women and girls are often absent or refuse to attend due to the indignity of lack of privacy.

Tourism revenues suffered from the lack of proper sanitation and costing the country about $260 million, Costain said.

"We all hear about people worrying over Delhi Belly, but tourists are reluctant to come here due to health concerns like this and this is losing India money," he said.

(Reporting by Nita Bhalla; Editing by Krittivas Mukherjee and Ron Popeski)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Reuters Showcase

Modi Interview

Modi Interview

PM Modi says al Qaeda will fail in India - CNN   Full Article 

Cost Control

Cost Control

India caps prices of 36 more drugs to improve access - government official.  Full Article 

Alibaba IPO

Alibaba IPO

Alibaba jumps more than 40 pct in trading debut.  Full Article 

Philippines Storm

Philippines Storm

Storm leaves 200,000 displaced in Philippines, heads for Taiwan   Full Article 

On-Air Gaffe

On-Air Gaffe

TV anchor's number is up after naming China's Xi 'Eleven'  Full Article 

Indian Soccer

Indian Soccer

New league will lift Indian soccer, says Del Piero.  Full Article 

New iPhones

New iPhones

Apple faithful line up for latest, larger iPhones.  Full Article 

Director Jolie

Director Jolie

Angelina Jolie to direct Richard Leakey biopic 'Africa'.  Full Article 

Seeking 'Fame'

Seeking 'Fame'

North Korea says imprisoned American tried to become 'second Snowden' .  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage